The City Stadium, as it is now known, is far from a new ground for me. In fact, as one of the closer grounds to home, I probably visit a couple of times a season, although this was my first trip for a little while. I knew of at least one change to the ground since my last visit and, as soon as I entered the ground, I spotted another one. The change that I knew of was the artificial surface, which is probably the reason that this game survived the weather when everyone else had fallen foul. The change that I wasn't aware of was the addition of a new stand, a covered seating area on the A40 side of the ground.
Binfield were struggling to get themselves going. Passes were going astray, tackles being missed and they looked generally off the pace.
After 17 minutes Nomads took full advantage of their visitors lethargy, breaking down their right-flank. The ball was played in low towards the front post where Craig Fasanmade was on hand to finish very neatly. 1-0
Anyone expecting an immediate response from The Moles would have been disappointed. In fact, it was Nomads who continued to look the more likely team to score. Binfield did wake up in the final few minutes of the half, and finally got a shot on target. However, as the referee blew for the break, it was the Oxford bench that looked the happier.
HT Oxford City Nomads 1 Binfield 0. A deserved lead for the home side who were much the better team. The half was summed up by a Binfield supporter's comments as the whistle went, "1-0 down. I'll take that".
Within ten minutes of the restart a pair of those fresh legs, sub Fitzgerald, was pulled down in the home box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Ian Davies, placing his spot-kick to the left of keeper Luke Sanders. 1-1.
There was some confusion on the night around the actual goal-scorer. I tweeted that it was Davies but then noticed that Binfield had credited the goal to Carlo Santoro, so I corrected my tweet only to find out the following morning that I had been right all along. To be fair, numbers 7 and 9 don't look dissimilar from a distance.
Nomads were seeing far less of the ball than in the first half and, when they did get it, they were being closed down a lot quicker than in the first 45 minutes. The second-half, in fact, was an entirely different game to the first-half (trying to avoid using the age old cliche. You know the one).
After 69 minutes it was the turn of another substitute, Liam Gavin, to make his mark when he rose at the far post to head in a right-wing corner. 1-2. Eight minutes later Binfield were awarded a free-kick out on the right-flank some thirty yards out. The ball was sent into the Nomads box where Gavin was on hand again, this time bundling the ball over the line, to make it 1-3.
With the clock ticking off added time and some of the sparse crowd, me included, starting to edge towards the exits, Connor Mattimore, a Nomads substitute, popped up with the goal of the game when he curled in an effort from the edge of the box. 2-3. Nomads retrieved the ball as quickly as possible, trying to mount one last attack in order to grab an equaliser. However, it was not to be.
FT Oxford City Nomads 2 Binfield 3. A much improved second-half from Binfield but Nomads will be kicking themseleves for not going into half-time more than a goal in front.
Oxford City Nomads: Sanders, Bestley, Simms, Brown, Gibbens (c), Talboys, Martei, Tutton, Collins, Singh, Fasanmade. Subs:Barrett, Peart, Mattimore, O’Donoghue.
Binfield: Craven, Thompson-Wheeler, Shaw, Campbell, Smith, Leonetti, Santoro, Knight (c), Davies, Moore, Gritt. Subs: Gerrard, Fitzgerald, Gavin, Pagliaroli
Ground Number: Not a new ground
Stop Press: The Full-Time site listed a red card against Nomads keeper Luke Sanders. I was pretty certain even I would have spotted that during the game. A tweet to the club cleared it up. Apparently, the red card was shown after the final whistle.